Plenty of letters in The Scotsman extol the employment economics of sporting estates but take no account of either the type of employment or potential alternatives.
Estate work doesn’t equate particularly well with job status markers and retains an association with cap-doffing, forelock-fingering and suchlike deferential aspects.
Likewise, in instances of community land ownership, such as the island of Eigg, where the hitherto estates of private wealthy individuals have been peacefully “usurped” by the local residents, there is, I would contend, a deeper and less obsequious job situation and one in which local people can take more pride.
Not to mention examples such as the man running a pallet recycling business in Lanarkshire who upgraded what was a portion of ostensibly derelict land adjoining his work premises and lost it in a court action by estate owners over recent months, despite protesting he had been looking after and utilising the plot when nobody else had been bothering to.
His appeal at the Court of Session has in the past week or so been unsuccessful. Land ownership is one of the test-beds of any society – has been across the world – regarding respect for a population and the individuals who comprise it.
There has been too much of a free-for-all in Scotland with regard to purchasing large chunks of land, effectively Scot-land, and the advertising for sale of the Black Cuillin mountains of Skye by MacLeod of MacLeod at the turn of this century is a classic instance.
The anomaly of those espousing the rightness of people owning their own houses while denying them any right to own their land is blatant. Also note the presence of the word “own” in such matters and its concomitant meanings.